March 28th, 2014
07:59 AM ET
9 years ago

Inside Politics Speed Read: 6 million enrollments tells us very little about Obamacare

Wow! Right? Maybe not: Here’s what we know: More than 6 million people have signed up for private coverage on insurance exchanges set up through Obamacare.

Here’s what we don’t know: pretty much anything else.

The 6 million doesn’t account for the low-income people who have enrolled in Medicaid or the people who couldn’t enroll in Medicaid because their states chose not to participate.

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Finally, the administration has not said who these 6 million people are. Are they young or old? How many of them have paid their premiums? Will insurance companies have to dramatically raise premiums next year? These are key questions that will be needed to put the 6 million in its proper perspective and give Obamacare a full checkup.

This is either a remarkable turnaround or another example of failure, depending on who you talk to. That’s the politics of Obamacare.

As CNN's Christine Romans said this morning, the 6 million figure “exceeds lowered expectations.”

Unpack that phrase.

That expectation was lowered to 6 million after the epic failure of the insurance exchange rollout back in October. So hitting 6 million enrollments is amazing when you view it through the lens of October, when people who desperately wanted to enroll could not.

But it is a million short of the original expectation. From an insurance policy standpoint, it probably doesn’t even matter that much.

Obamacare is a national law, but it plays out at the local level. And it is on the local level that Obamacare will succeed or fail. Insurance exchanges are administered at the state level and insurance pools are divided into even smaller groupings. Many states administering their own exchanges are doing well. States - most of them red ones - that chose to rely on the federal government have far lower enrollment.

Christie won’t change: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans his first news conference in months. It comes the day after an internal review said he didn’t recall being told about those political payback bridge lane closings last September. But he already told ABC News the scandal won’t change his leadership style.

“I am who I am,” he told Diane Sawyer. “At core, I am a passionate, loving, caring, direct, truth teller. And for some people, they love it.”

Christie denies knowing, calls former staffers 'stupid': Christie says the toxic environment in his office that apparently led to the George Washington Bridge lane shutdowns is news to him and he did nothing to create it.

"I don’t think anyone would take that as an indication to do something so incredibly stupid," he told Sawyer.

"You asked if I contributed to a climate,” he said. “I don’t believe that I did."

He was shocked, he said, to learn of the lane closures.

"It defies credulity to me. Which is why when things were first reported, I said, 'This can't possibly be true.' Because who would do something like that? Sometimes, people do inexplicably stupid things," he said.

Lawyers appointed by Christie released their own internal review that found the governor did nothing wrong.

Internal Probe: Christie doesn’t recall being told of traffic jams

Christie probe gets personal with Bridget Kelly: That probe, by the way, is coming under some fire for the way it portrays Bridget Kelly, Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, who joked with a Port Authority official about the lane closure.

She is described as “emotional” after the report implies an affair with Christie’s campaign manager went south.

Kate Zernike and David Chen write in The New York Times: “The report raises these details but does not explain how or why they would have prompted her to send the damning email. It simply concludes that “events in her personal life may have had some bearing on her subjective motivations and state of mind.”

Biden: The undocumented are already Americans: Democrats want to kickstart stalled efforts to enact immigration reform. The main sticking point is - as it has long been - whether the millions of undocumented  in this country should be given a pathway to citizenship.

Vice President Joe Biden, in a way that only Joe Biden can, said citizenship is a state of mind as well as a legal term.

“You know, 11 million people that are living in the shadows. I believe they’re already Americans citizens,” Biden said. “These people are just waiting, waiting for a chance to be able to contribute fully. And by that standard, 11 million undocumented aliens are already Americans in my view.”

Citing the contribution Hispanics have made to the American economy, Biden stressed the importance of passing immigration reform sooner rather than later, arguing, “It’s the single most significant thing we can do. It’s a game-changer financially for the country.”

Kentucky’s McConnell bedeviled by Duke flub: CNN’s Political Editor Paul Steinhauser reports that Sen. Mitch McConnell's conservative primary challenger is hoping to score some points off of a highly publicized mistake by the Senate Minority Leader's re-election team.

Louisville businessman Matt Bevin, hoping to boost his underdog challenge against McConnell in Kentucky's May Republican primary, is going up with a TV commercial today that pokes fun at Web video released earlier this week by the senator's campaign that included a clip of a team wearing blue uniforms celebrating a national championship in men's basketball.

The major problem was that the team wasn't the Kentucky Wildcats, but instead the Duke University Blue Devils. There's little love among Kentucky college basketball fans for the powerhouse Atlantic Coast Conference school from North Carolina.

Update: This post originally misidentified Medicaid as Medicare.

Filed under: Chris Christie • Mitch McConnell • Obamacare
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. rs

    What 6 million new enrolled tells us is that the ACA is working, and the GOP/Koch meme is just so much smoke. For the Right, the more who enroll in the ACA, buying insurance, and getting healthier makes their whole "freedom" thing look idiotic. "I'm free to go bankrupt"; "I'm free to die from preventable disease", and on and on.
    Is the law perfect? No, but it contains everything the GOP wanted in the '90s in their health program, and virtually everything in "Romneycare" (which only calls into question the GOP's stern anti-ACA stance).

    The bottom line: The President tried to make life better for Americans, the GOP complained. That's what we need to remember in November.

    March 28, 2014 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    This is the utmost nation's dire needed Law. So only, SC Honorable Judge John Roberts upheld. O.k. Don't be crazy just like few corrupted hooligans pupated in GOP corruption by insurance thugs. These are worst than Al Queda. Yes, ACA IS A LAW. You ether put or shut up. Yes, more than 6 million enrolled.

    March 28, 2014 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. just asking

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross......
    Actually just spewing lies and hate any sane person would know billionaires wouldn't have to spend millions on lying ads if it was going to fail on its own.

    well somebody has to get the truth out to the american people. obama, reid, pelosi and the democrats have been lying to the american people for years now about this disaster.

    thank god these patriots have stepped forward and educated the country concerning obama liar of the year and all of the lies that were told. but democrats continue to double down on their lies and deceit, thus showing the rest of america just how deceitful they truly are. that will become evident to you in november but i'm sure you will deny it, just as you did in 2010 when obamacare cost the democrats the house. lefties live in a bizarro dream world where nothing is ever their fault.

    March 28, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. spike

    And how many of these are illegals? There are many reports of the navigators camping out at the Mexican counselates and signing up illegals. Why wouldn't you when Obama has promised the INS would look the other way. Another lie from Obama – no illegals will be allowed to sign up, and yet, his navigators are furiously signing them up. Come one come all, let's bankrupt America which is exactly Obamas hidden agenda

    March 28, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    just asking

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross......
    I can tell you what we do know....Fox-lite wants the ACA to fail.

    any sane person can plainly see this disaster is failing all on its own. it needs no help in failing.
    Ah so, "any sane person", so that's it. If what you say is true, then why are the Koch brothers spending tens of millions, and hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure that it fails? You're suggesting that they're insane.

    March 28, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Don't they tell you what your premiums will be BEFORE you enroll Dar?
    Why would people enroll and THEN find out that they can't pay the premiums thus causing them to drop out and pay the penalty?
    My insurance company told me what my premiums would be before I signed up with them.

    March 28, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Smith – I hope you realize that insurance companies scrapped plans in order to get premiums increased.

    March 28, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Let's see. In my family alone I've had a mother in law who died from congestive heart failure. A brother in law who has had a heart attack. A niece who underwent a double mastectomy. A great niece who gave birth at age 16.

    Each of them (except my great-niece) received their medical coverage via the emergency room. ALL of them were given uninsured medical treatment via taxpayers expenses.

    What is the Republican plan for these uninsured ... moochers ... of society?

    March 28, 2014 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  9. Tampa Tim

    Any sane person can see that if ACA was bad, the Kochs would not have had to spend their pocket change, $800million, to derail it.

    March 28, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Dominican mama 4 Obama wrote:

    "ACA has 6 million enrolled, but it`s mainly the low income, elderly folks, and people with pre-existing conditions. This is not good, next year premiums will skyrocket. It`s time to admit this law has failed and make the proper changes to fix it"

    Premiums go up regardless smith.
    You seem to be assuming that young people will NEVER sign up for Obamacare.
    Yup. YUP. Yup. YUP. Premiums have always gone up. Plans and policies have always been cancelled. All of this would have taken place with or without the ACA. So , Smith, stop blaming everything that normally happens on the ACA. I guess that law is going to be blamed for people actually dying before too long.

    Smith, I also find the metric that you used to measure the law's failure extremely appalling. People in need gain health insurance, and you call that a failure. Thanks, for the heads up.

    March 28, 2014 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  11. Peace

    This is pathetic. How can anyone demand to know more about the enrollment on Obamacare. They didn't bother to know more especially on the first 6 people who signed up when the enrollment started , of which was very easy to know. Now they are demanding to know more on 6 million people who have so far signed. Is it because the number is high or is it they have an hidden agenda which we are not aware of?

    March 28, 2014 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. Tampa Tim

    Why do wingnuts think Fox, the Kochs, Hannity, Limbaugh, and John Boehner are telling the truth?

    March 28, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. Gurgyl

    Tell you this lying is not worst than WMD. Nothing Obama lied. Yes, he said keep your insurance thinking GOP can not instigate insurance thugs to cancel or play politics for THEIR gains of profits. Just get educated first, then talk. This nation needs Education–not wars.

    March 28, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. smith

    @DM40- I think the pre-existing conditions part of the ACA is good, but letting 18- 26 yr. olds say on their parents plan was a mistake. They need these people to keep premiums down.

    March 28, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Tampa Tim

    Recently, republican senators Hatch, Coburn, and Burr, came out with a health plan that would remove millions of people who already had health insurance, and raise everyone's taxes. Now that is a plan wingnuts would love.

    March 28, 2014 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  16. smith

    @Rudy-In my lifetime this was the first time I had a policy scrapped. Premuims do go up yearly, but only a couple of dollars. Hardly anything to get bent out of shape over.

    March 28, 2014 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  17. smith

    @Tampa Tim-Wrong, my policy was scrapped because it didn`t fit the guidelines of the ACA.

    March 28, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  18. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ smith
    My 23 year-old just got off my plan.
    He is very gainfully employed smith and I would be paying LESS not having him on my insurance.
    Folks think that having your 21-26 year old on your insurance (18 year olds would typically be college bound so they would've been covered under the old rules regardless) doesn't come at a price for the parents. It does.
    I would pay less for insurance if it was just for myself than continuing to cover my youngest under my plan (Employee plus One they call it here).
    So, he's off my plan (praise the Law and the Lawd!), and I don't think that I'm the ONLY parent that's experiencing this.
    The young folks are going to come on board smith,is all I'm saying.
    And if the Generation Y and X mentality and behaviour pattern remains true to form they will communicate that with and to each other via the various social media and the floodgates will open.
    I think that Obamacare/ACA will be just fine. Give it some time.

    March 28, 2014 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  19. smith

    @Rudy-The ACA is a failure, in the long run it hurts the people that it was supposed to help. Why not fix it for the better?

    March 28, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |

    My 34 year old son got a silver blue crosse policy in FLORIDA for 62.00 so don't tell me it's not a success. The GOP is doing everything it can to obstruct the roll out and they FAILED AGAIN, why don't you just GIVE UP??????

    March 28, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Rudy NYC


    @DM40- I think the pre-existing conditions part of the ACA is good, but letting 18- 26 yr. olds say on their parents plan was a mistake. They need these people to keep premiums down.
    Uh. Duh. They do have those people, well, at least most of them. Allowing parents to keep their kids until age 26 means millions of additional people covered, and hundreds of millions more in additonal premiums. It was a brilliant move from an enrollment standpoint.

    PS. Not everyone has a parent who can pick them up, either.

    March 28, 2014 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The ACA is a failure, in the long run it hurts the people that it was supposed to help
    I would like to hear your reasons for saying that smith.

    March 28, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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